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Parliamentarians push for bigger role at the WTO

  • © AFR/ STR
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Geneva

Members of Parliament called for stronger ties between parliaments and the WTO at a time when the rules-based multilateral trading system is in deepening crisis.

At the annual session of the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization (PCWTO), the IPU and the European Parliament called for WTO members to strengthen the parliamentary dimension of the WTO to ensure its democratic legitimacy.

They also asked for modernization of the WTO to increase its effectiveness and legitimacy, taking note of the dimensions underlined in a recent resolution of the European Parliament.

The delegates reiterated their commitment to a fair and equitable international trading system, based on free trade to encourage global economic growth and sustainable economic development, creating jobs and ensuring welfare for all.

Quotes

“In this time of turbulence, when multilateralism and the very functioning of the WTO are at risk, our partnership is of critical importance in raising political awareness, understanding and support for the WTO and its work. As parliaments and parliamentarians we have a responsibility to ensure accountability that brings about a more effective and efficient trading system that works for all,” said Margaret Mensah-Williams, the Chair of the National Council of Namibia and co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the PCWTO.

“As Parliamentarians, we act as a vital link between citizens and decision makers as we convey the views of our electorates to those who are in charge of negotiating multilateral trade deals. At the same time, we have the responsibility to hold our governments to account and ensure that citizens’ concerns are heard,” said Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Vice-President of the European Parliament and head of the EP delegation to the Conference.

The UK Parliament was represented at the PCWTO by former BGIPU Chair, Nigel Evans MP and Sir Mark Hendrick MP.

Background

The Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization is a joint project of the IPU and the European Parliament. Its goal is to enhance the transparency of the WTO and to make it accountable to the elected representatives of the people.

It holds its meetings yearly, when possible back-to back with WTO Ministerial Conferences. It is intended primarily for parliamentarians who specialize in international trade. It provides them with an opportunity to examine the main issues arising from the WTO, to obtain first-hand information on relevant subjects from WTO leaders and to give input to the decision-making process of the WTO.

Related links

Programme of the meeting in Geneva, 6-7 December

Outcome document

Homepage of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO